What’s up devils? Hope you all had a very happy and safe 4th of July. The 4th of July is all about America; a time for us all to come together and celebrate our common ground and identity as Americans. Similarly, a barbecue is a time for people to come together and celebrate their common ground, so it is only logical that a barbecue would be a stereotypical 4th of July event. It also seems only logical that barbecue would play a role in shaping America and Americans themselves. Barbecue and politics, especially in this country, go hand-in-hand.
For starters, no one has ever said that they don’t love barbecue. They might not love every style or variety of barbecue, but no one has ever denounced liking barbecue. Also, many people say that they hate politics, but more often then not, they are liars. Every American loves politics, because everything is political. I’ll leave it at that.
Then there are the various regional barbecue styles (i.e. North Carolina, South Carolina, Kansas City, Memphis, Texas, Alabama, etc.) that reflect the history and culture of the local area.This creates endless conflict, we every barbecue maestro arguing over who’s got the best meat and sauce. They boast so much about why their style is the only true barbecue or the best barbecue, without ever pausing to contemplate the merits of the competition (sounds exactly like a political race).
However, barbecue doesn’t separate and divide people, like actual politics tends to do, but it brings people together on a common ground to celebrate. Nat Turner planned many of his rebellions at slave barbecues on the Southern Plantations. Barbecue scholar Robert F. Moss wrote in the 19th century work “Barbecue: The History of an American Institution” that the events were typically held on the 4th of July and were overly political, stating that they were, “the quintessential form of democratic public celebration, bringing together citizens from all stations to express and reaffirm their shared civic values.” Many meetings during the Civil Rights movement were held at barbecue restaurants. In April of 1865, after Charleston, S.C., had surrendered to Union forces, Nat Fuller, a slave who eventually became a successful restaurateur, held a “reconciliation feast” in the city that was attended by both blacks and whites.
Yes, barbecue and politics go hand in hand. Of course any election is better when it’s between pulled-pork and brisket, but until that day comes maybe we can all use the lessons and tastiness of barbecue to benefit us all. However, we’ll probably all keep arguing over who’s meat and sauce is best.